Plan a weekend getaway (or longer)
Sonoma County's size, diversity, and large number of wineries mean that it works as a destination for a weekend or even longer. Choose your base of operations depending on the kinds of wines you want to explore (i.e., cooler- or warmer-weather varietals); settle in near the appellations you most want to tour.
It's probably no coincidence that Sonoma County inspired three writers whose works evoked the California dream at its most pleasurable and potent.
America's greatest writer on food, M.F.K. Fisher, had her loyalties to the Napa Valley--she lived in St. Helena for decades. Still, in the latter part of her life she opted to live and write in Sonoma County's tiny Glen Ellen.
Not too far away are the stomping grounds of another symbol of American joie de vivre: Peanuts' Snoopy, whose creator, Charles Schulz, called Santa Rosa home. If the leap from exuberant beagle to peerless Cabernet seems a long one, don't forget--Snoopy's capacious doghouse contained its own wine cellar.
Finally, there's Sonoma County's most famous writer, dashing Jack London, memorialized now in the Glen Ellen state park that bears his name.
His short novel Valley of the Moon told of a young couple's journey up and down the length of California, seeking a place to call home. "What we want," they said, "is a valley of the moon, with not too much work and all the fun we want. And we'll just keep on looking until we find it." As the name of the novel hints, they found that perfect place in Sonoma County. Chances are you will too.